And with these words, Damanaka rested his case.
Pingalaka looked thoughtful…after a few minutes of silence, he said…
“Let it be so then. Whether you are talented or not, you are the son of my ex-minister and I have known you for long. So whatever you want to say, say it without hesitation.”
Damanaka replied- “Lord! There is something I want to tell you.” Pingalaka said-“Sure, go ahead”.
Damanaka looked pensive. He came closer to Pingalaka, and in a firm voice, spoke to him so that the others could hear as well…. “It is said…”
अपि स्वल्पतरं कार्यं यद् भवेत् पृथिवी-पतेः ।
तन् न वाच्यं सभा-मध्ये प्रोवाचेदं बृहस्पतिः ॥ १०७ ॥
api svalpataraṃ kāryaṃ yad bhavet pṛthivī-pateḥ |
tan na vācyaṃ sabhā-madhye provācedaṃ bṛhaspatiḥ || 107 ||||
“Brhaspati has stated that any work, be it big or small, should not be discussed in an open court.
“Therefore”, said Damanaka, “your highness should listen to me in private, because…”
षट्-कर्णो भिद्यते मन्त्रश् चतुष्कर्णः स्थिरो भवेत् ।
तस्मात् सर्व-प्रयत्नेन षट्कर्णं वर्जयेत् सुधीः ॥ १०८ ॥
ṣaṭ-karṇo bhidyate mantraś catuṣkarṇaḥ sthiro bhavet |
tasmāt sarva-prayatnena ṣaṭkarṇaṃ varjayet sudhīḥ || 108 ||
A secret that is heard by six ears will most certainly be leaked; a discussion is limited to four ears will always be kept secret. Therefore the wise should always avoid a discussion that is heard by six ears.”
The tigers, leopards, wolves and other animals in the assembly, who understood what Damanaka meant, immediately stood up and walked away, far from Pingalaka and Damanaka. Others were made to leave, by Pingalaka’s attendants, who then placed themselves out of earshot.
Damanaka looked satisfied, turned his head towards the king, and continued – “Your highness had the intention of drinking water from the river. Why then, did you not drink the water, and instead come and sit here?”
Pingalaka managed a stupid grin, and with a nervous laugh, told Damanaka – “Oh thats’ nothing really. I just felt like coming and sitting down here!”
Damanaka looked far from convinced. “If it’s a secret my Lord, then let it be.”
“Because it is said…”
दरिषु किञ्चित् स्वजनेषु किञ्चिद् गोप्यं वयस्येषु सुतेषु किञ्चित् ।
युक्तं न वा युक्तम् इदं विचिन्त्य वदेद् विपश्चिन् महतो ऽनुरोधात् ॥ १०९ ॥
dariṣu kiñcit svajaneṣu kiñcid gopyaṃ vayasyeṣu suteṣu kiñcit |
yuktaṃ na vā yuktam idaṃ vicintya vaded vipaścin mahato ‘nurodhāt || 109 ||
Some things should be hidden from the wife, some from relatives, some from friends of the same age, some from the sons. A wise man should first think well about what is right for the situation and then only speak his mind, even if he is requested repeatedly by great men.
Hearing these words, Pingalaka thought to himself – “Damanaka seems to be very trustworthy. So it is right to confide in him. It is said…”
स्वामिनि गुणान्तरज्ञे गुणवति भृत्येऽनुवर्तिनि कलये ।
सुहृदि निरन्तर-चित्ते निवेद्य दुःखं सुखी भवति ॥ १०१ ॥
svāmini guṇāntarajñe guṇavati bhṛtye’nuvartini kalaye |
suhṛdi nirantara-citte nivedya duḥkhaṃ sukhī bhavati || 101 ||
If one confides his troubles to a stable-minded friend, or a dedicated servant, or a devoted wife, or a compassionate master, he will feel lighter and at peace.”
Having thought this, Pingalaka looked back at Damanaka and said “Hey Damanaka, do you hear that loud sound coming from afar?” Damanaka looked confused- “Lord! I do hear it. what about it?” Pingalaka said- “Damanaka! I want to leave this forest, and go someplace else.”
“And why is that?” asked Damanaka.
Pingalaka said – “Because, it is evident that some unseen creature has entered this forest today, it is that creature that is making this frightful sound. The size of this creature can be understood by the sound it is making; and its massive strength can be understood by its size.”
Hearing the fight in Pingalaka’s voice, Damanaka cautioned him- “If you are frightened only because of the sound my Lord, then it is not proper of you to be so. Because, it is said…”
अम्भसा भिद्यते सेतुस् तथा मन्त्रो ऽप्य् अरक्षितः ।
पैशुन्याद् भिद्यते स्नेहो भिद्यते वाग्भिर् आतुरः ॥ १११ ॥
ambhasā bhidyate setus tathā mantro ‘py arakṣitaḥ |
paiśunyād bhidyate sneho bhidyate vāgbhir āturaḥ || 111 ||
Just as a bridge breaks down by the force of rapidly-flowing water; and a secret is revealed if it is not protected; just as good friendship is broken by malicious behaviour; so does an intelligent person lose his stability by becoming anxious and not thinking straight.
“And hence it is not right that your highness should speak of leaving this ancestral forest of yours, just because of hearing an unidentified sound. Sounds can be produced from various sources – like a drum, flute, Veena, Mrdanga, by the clapping of hands, from a war-drum, conch and many others. One should therefore not get frightened by sound alone. It is said…”
अत्युत्कटे च रौद्रे च शत्रौ प्राप्ते न हीयते ।
धैर्यं यस्य महीनाथो न स याति पराभवम् ॥ ११२ ॥
satyutkaṭe ca raudre ca śatrau prāpte na hīyate |
dhairyaṃ yasya mahīnātho na sa yāti parābhavam || 112 ||
The king who does not panic, even when facing an attack from a terrifying enemy of enormous strength, never gets defeated.
दर्शित-भयेऽपि धातरि धैर्य-ध्वंसो भवेन् न धीराणाम् ।
शोषित-सरसि निदाघे नितराम् एवोद्धतः सिन्धुः ॥ ११३ ॥
darśita-bhaye’pi dhātari dhairya-dhvaṃso bhaven na dhīrāṇām |
śoṣita-sarasi nidāghe nitarām evoddhataḥ sindhuḥ || 113 ||
Even if the creator himself instigates fear, the brave ones do not lose their courage, on the contrary, they become more courageous. A lake dries up in the harsh summer; but the ocean reacts ferociously, with high rising waves signalling it’s increased courage.
यस्य न विपदि विषादः सम्पदि हर्षो रणे न भीरुत्वम् ।
तं भुवन-त्रय-तिलकं जनयति जननी सुतं विरलम् ॥ ११४ ॥
yasya na vipadi viṣādaḥ sampadi harṣo raṇe na bhīrutvam |
taṃ bhuvana-traya-tilakaṃ janayati jananī sutaṃ viralam || 114 ||
Rare is mother who delivers a son who does not panic when faced with danger, who does not get excited by wealth and who does not exhibit fear in battle – such a person is indeed a treasure for the three worlds.
शक्ति-वैकल्य-नम्रस्य निःसारत्वाल् लघीयसः ।
जन्निमो मानहीनस्य तृणस्य च समा गतिः ॥ ११५ ॥
śakti-vaikalya-namrasya niḥsāratvāl laghīyasaḥ |
jannimo mānahīnasya tṛṇasya ca samā gatiḥ || 115 ||
One who acts humble because he lacks strength and who feels inferior because he lacks efficiency- such a disdainful person is no better than a blade of grass, and so is his existence as inconsequential.
अन्य-प्रतापम् आसाद्य यो दृढत्वं न गच्छति ।
जतुजाभरणस्येव रूपेणापि हि तस्य किम् ॥ ११६ ॥
anya-pratāpam āsādya yo dṛḍhatvaṃ na gacchati |
jatujābharaṇasyeva rūpeṇāpi hi tasya kim || 116 ||
What is the worth of a man who maintains no stability in front of an enemy? He is equal to ornaments made of wax, beautiful but worthless.
“It is said…”
पूर्वम् एव मया ज्ञातं पूर्णम् एतद् धि मेदसा ।
अनुप्रविश्य विज्ञातं यावच् चर्म च दारु च ॥ ११७ ॥
pūrvam eva mayā jñātaṃ pūrṇam etad dhi medasā |
anupraviśya vijñātaṃ yāvac carma ca dāru ca || 117 ||
I thought so in the beginning that this was filled with flesh, but after entering it I understood it to be just leather and wood.”
Pingalaka looked astonished- “How did that happen?”
to be continued…